Celebrities With Mysophobia
Celebrities with an extreme fear of germs
Mysophobia, an irrational fear of germs, isn't a condition that only certain people get. It can affect anyone from any gender, any race, and any social standing. In fact, more than a few celebrities are reported to suffer from it.
Some, like Howie Mandel, aren't ashamed to let society know of their irrational fear of germs. He has my utmost respect for being honest about it. Others, best left unnamed, show all the signs, but are probably too embarrassed to admit it.
And who can blame them? After all the ridicule that Michael Jackson had to endure for being mysophobic, I'd have second thoughts too.
Symptoms of Mysophobia
Mysophobia means having an uncontrollable fear of dirt, germs and contamination. Unlike normal fears, when a mysophobe is exposed to germs or dirt, she (or he) may experience breathlessness, nausea, heart palpitations, or a fear of loss of control. She can also feel ill and start shaking if she fears that she is being contaminated. In extreme cases a mysophobe will get physically sick in reaction to a possible contamination.
Here are a few symptoms of mysophobia
- Excessive washing, for example, repeated hand washing (an action which paradoxically makes them more prone to infection)
- Avoiding activities that are deemed unclean by them, such as using public bathrooms or shaking hands
- Declaring the desire not to share any personal items, including utensils and toothbrushes as well as food and drinks
- Avoiding social situations which include a close group of people or animals
Mysophobia can be caused by many things. If a person is raised by a mysophobic parent, they have a higher chance of developing it themselves. Mysophobia can also be brought on by a traumatic event. There's even been cases where mysophobia was caused by watching a scene on tv.
Is it Mysophobia or OCD?
A lot of people think mysophobia and obsessive compulsive disorder are the same thing. But they aren't. While a symptom of both disorders is repeated hand washing, it's the thought process behind it that separates mysophobia from ocd.
A mysophobe washes their hands repeatedly to get rid of germs and contaminants.
Someone with OCD washes their hands repeatedly because they feel they have to.
Howie Mandel admits to suffering from both OCD and Mysophobia. He refuses to shake hands unless he's wearing latex gloves. He's been known to literally run from germs. First in 2007 when NFL running back Marshall Faulk grabbed Howie's hand and tried to shake it, Howie ran off stage screaming and washed his hands several times. This happened twice more while he was a judge on America's Got Talent. Once when a contestant was trying to sneeze too close to him and again when another contestant dropped a piece of used dental floss too close to Howie.
Howie has also admitted to being so scared of public restrooms, that the only bathroom he can use is his own. And in 2006 he told Howard Stern that he shaves his head because it makes him feel cleaner.
Michael Jackson suffered from many fears, including the fear of dogs, the fear of flying, the fear of getting fat, the fear of crowds, and an extreme fear of germs.
I'm sure everyone can remember the surgical masks and gloves he wore while in public in order to protect himself from becoming contaminated. He even went so far as to have his children wear surgical masks when they were in public.
I always felt sorry for Michael Jackson. He had to endure an unbelievable amount of taunting, rumors and ridicule just because he suffered from mysophobia.
Howard Hughes had an extreme case of mysophobia which some say ultimately caused his death. Although it's not a proven fact, some speculate that he learned his fear of germs from his mother.
Howard grew up and lived an exciting and eventful life, but then as he got older, he became more and more fearful of germs. He would lock himself in his 'germ-free' hotel room for months at a time. He tried to protect himself from germs by using tissues to pick up objects. He even stuffed all the cracks in his windows with tissues to keep the germs out. After a series of plane crashes, he became addicted to drugs and became a total recluse. At the time of his death, no one had seen him in so long they had to use fingerprints to identify him.
In 1997 Donald outlined his fear of shaking hands in his book Trump: The Art of the Comeback. As it turns out, Donald Trump is actually terrified of germs. Time Magazine reported that Donald Trump doesn't shake hands because he's afraid of germs. OCD Today reports that he even refuses to touch the ground floor button on an elevator. He's also been quoted as saying
"I'm going to do everything in my power not to shake hands with teachers. They have 17,000 germs per square inch on their desk. That's ten times the germ rate of those in other professions. It's absolutely swarming with germs."
There has been much speculation about whether Cameron Diaz suffers from mysophobia. She repeatedly washes her hands throughout the day and uses her elbows instead of her hands to open doors. She's also admitted to scrubbing her door handles hard enough to fade the paint. She has been quoted as saying
"I'm not into other people's fluids unless I know them really well."
In 1997 Time Magazine quoted Cameron as saying she was germophobic. In a 2009 interview with Bill Maher, Cameron denied the statement, saying a comment she made about public bathrooms was blown out of proportion.
Who else has mysophobia?
Do you know of any other celebrities that suffer from mysophobia?
Did I miss a movie or tv show?
Do you know of another movie or tv show that has a mysophobic character?
Questions & Answers
© 2010 Othercatt